Thursday, August 9, 2007
Corn for breakfast~
In my vegetable garden a mere month ago, "the best was yet to come." But now it's that special time in New England "for which the first was made." (Robert Browning applied today)
The garden is bursting with sustenance ripe for the picking. Along with early apples and pears, I pick corn, cukes and summer squash. Potatoes and carrots are ready to dig while yellow beans still dangle from bushy plants. It's a glorious abundance for which I'm grateful. There are beets and butternut squash too. And broccoli.
My husband does the prep work in late March and the planting soon after. Then, apart from weeding and watering, he turns the garden over to me.
"I grow 'em," he says. "You pick 'em."
It always sounds like a good deal during the cold, muddy spring. He forks under the winter rye and culls rocks from cold soil, his breath a cloud I see through the window as I drink tea and read .
But now I feel a pressure standing among such bounty in the summer sun. We can't eat all we grow, and I hate to waste "good food," something my father constantly admonished against.
So neighbors get homegrown deliveries. I give bags full to the local Senior Center. My son's friends are mandated to take veggies home when they stop by. And still there is more "good food" than one small family can eat.
One answer is to can or freeze it. I've done that. I don't relish the job, which creates a different pressure in December anyway. With the wood stove lit and a snowstorm raging, I want spaghetti and meatballs or beef stew, not summer squash and yellow beans. I end up throwing out what remains when the next garden begins to produce.
Each year we plant less, give away more, freeze some.
And for one late summer month I eat corn on the cob for breakfast-- leftover from the night before-- cold without butter and salt. I pick ears for a mid afternoon snack to eat raw from the garden, sweeter and crunchier than when cooked. I add corn kernels to salads. Today I sautéed onions, green pepper and corn-- all from the garden-- added black beans and a spicy sauce mix, which only I will eat . . . and eat . . . and eat. Waste not, want not.
"I wonder what corn muffins would be like with real corn kernels added," I said to my husband this morning after I'd picked an armload of tomatoes, a fistful of beans and six ears of corn.
"They wouldn't be real corn muffins," he said.
"That's the point, but I bet they'd be good."
"I wouldn't eat them," he said, definitive as always.
But I would, I think. And if he's not going to eat them I might just spice them up with a little onion as well, maybe bake a cornbread in a cast iron skillet, and eat that for breakfast-- warm and with butter.
I hope I never lose sight of how fortunate I am to have "good food" in such abundance.